Is tone deafness in social media a growing (or ongoing) problem? I would argue "yes" based on some examples I’ve seen recently.
The online Merriam Webster dictionary defines tone deaf as a noun meaning "relatively insensitive to differences in musical pitch."
This sounds (pun intended) to me just like a description of some folks who operate in social media apparently oblivious to the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) messages they are sending.
Three examples I’ve seen in the past week:
• A teacher comments on a student’s video that has been shared on their program-related Facebook page saying, among other things that the video is “dumb.” Forget that the teacher seems to have missed the point that the video was meant to be a light-hearted spoof and just think about how the student must now feel after this public comment.
Bottomline: The teacher, for all to see, seems to be publicly putting down a student.
• An editor of a community newspaper asks via Twitter if the newspaper should publish graphic photos of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi after he has been killed. In the tweet there is a link to those graphic photos. Forget that this is being asked at least 18 hours before anyone could see these images in print and that anyone who wants to (or doesn’t want to) see them can’t avoid them on online news websites and such sites as Google News.
Bottomline: The editor seems unaware that publishing a link to graphic images on Twitter is, in fact, a form of publishing.
• At a conference a professor talks about how growing social influence is important for individuals and businesses and admits that he demands students friend him on Facebook before they graduate otherwise he may be unwilling to help them later. Forget that anyone at the conference can look at his presences on Facebook and Twitter, for example, and see that he has relatively small circles of followers and friends.
Bottomline: The professor seems unaware that any claims about influence in social media are easily checked.
Of course it's easy to point up the deficiencies in others when I know I have my own – including not always responding in a timely manner and not always following back or accepting connection requests from everyone and anyone.
But am I wrong about this? Is social media really that hard to figure out? Folks, whatever you say on a social network can and will be seen by others … be smart.
What do you think?
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